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This is written by Matt Pope announcing his retirement from Pro hockey:
Well, after a 12 year professional career, I am retiring from the game of hockey and entering the game of finance. I was planning to play another season with the Devils, but unfortunately, there won’t be one right now and I don’t want to go play anywhere else. Looking back, my career ended as great as it started. In my first year pro, I set records in the ECHL and made the starting line-up 1st All-Star team.
Then on to the Calder Cup finals and came so close to winning it all. I earned myself a couple of NHL contract offers and was lucky enough to sign with my hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks. It was a dream come true, my parents and grandpa came to the meeting when I signed my contract and it was one of the proudest moments of my life, until the time came to put on that Canucks jersey, and score a couple goals. My parents and grandpa flew to my first game in California where I scored my first goal.
Then in my first home game with Canucks, where I had so many friends and family members there to cheer me on, I scored another goal, in front of all of them. That was definitely one of the best moments of my career. I was fortunate enough to travel around the world playing hockey in 7 different leagues and in many different countries, including 2 years in the European Champion’s league.
From the times people spoke Danish or Swedish to me in Scandinavia because they assumed I was Scandinavian, to people in Italy dressing up as the Pope to cheer for me at games, to being asked for photos by random people in Japan because I was one of the only tall blonde guys in Asia. Fast forward to the end of my career: I was lucky enough to spend it in Cardiff with the Devils, a first-class organization in the UK’s Elite League. We had such a great group, from the players and coaches to the staff, owners, and fans. In 3 years we won 3 championships and had so many great celebrations.
I’d like to thank some people for making the end of my career so special. Lordo is by far the best coach I’ve ever had and I am positive he’ll be coaching a team to the Stanley Cup one day. He demands the most from his players and leads by example with his unbelievable work ethic. Todd is a GM that goes above and beyond to make you happy whether you’re a player on the team or a player’s family member. He always makes sure we have more than we need.
The owners that took an organization from a 2 to a 10 on the professionalism scale, and actually care about the team, fans, and all the people involved. They are the most passionate owners I have come across which translates to a big reason for the Devil’s success. Katrina and the office staff are always so happy and sometimes I would go into the office just to hang out with them; they were always happy to help in any way they could.
Murdy who jumped into an unexpected role and did an amazing job, one of the best guys I’ve ever met. The other players, especially my captains Mo and Marty for being great leaders, Ulmer and Haddad for being my best mates, Benti for being my bus mate, and all the other guys I hung out with outside the rink, we all had such an awesome time together and I forged some amazing relationships. I am so happy to finish my career having fun every day with guys around me especially sat between Marty and Dixon!
The team sponsors, all such great companies with great people running them. Especially the 2 that I was fortunate enough to use their services, Nathan Jefferies from Floor Furnishings, and Chris Fletcher from Plumbing and Gas Solutions. My sponsors for 3 years, Leighton, Tina, and their son Dawson from Letterbox Marketing Company and the Transform Clinic. The fans that brought so much passion and loud cheers into the arena every game, and the Red Army that travelled to our away games and usually drowned out the other team’s fans in their own arena. I formed some good relationships with quite a few fans during my 3 years there, you know who you are, and I thank you for being so supportive and positive.
Shout out to my college roommates Matt Climie and Travis Winter, as well as my other teammates, so much time spent together, thanks for all the fun memories. Ted Belisle, who recruited me to university hockey and helped develop my game. Craig Heisinger who brought me into the Canucks organization. Taylor Ellington for being my best buddy on the Moose and still one of my best friends today. Alex Burrows and Roberto Luongo for being such great guys while I was nervous with the Canucks. Mike Thompson for training me every Summer and my agent Ross Gurney. My coach, trainer, and all my teammates in Japan for making it easy to be in a very foreign place. Got to mention Derek May, Andrew Sarauer, Brett Mclean, Mark Derlago, with whom I have so many great memories.
Last, but not least, the biggest thank you of all goes to my parents. Countless early mornings to get me to hockey, my Mom taking time off work for my away tournaments, spending all their money on hockey costs, and supporting me every step of the way. My Dad literally taught me everything, I was a star player as a child and it was all thanks to my Dad’s coaching; however, he would never let me score more than 3 goals each game; he forced me to learn to set up other players and not do it myself but to make my teammates better as well.
My grandparents were also extremely encouraging and helpful along the way, My Mom’s Mom used to be the loudest cheerer in the stands and she has travelled around continents to watch me play, making some great memories. My Dad’s Dad drove me for 3 days from Vancouver to Minnesota for my first year at University and made sure I was settled in and had everything I needed before driving back alone. To my brothers and cousins for playing hockey in the basement and on the street, and my Dad (again) for fixing the windows I broke while practicing shooting until eventually just boarding them up!
Holly and her family, Her and the kids were my 3 biggest fans in Cardiff and I’m sure all the on-ice celebrations will be moments we all remember for the rest of our lives, especially carrying the kids around after wins while the fans cheer. All my coaches and strength trainers along the way pitched in as well. Amazing to think I got to be a professional athlete, such an awesome thing, and couldn’t have done it without the help of so many great people along the way.
My next chapter is finance, something I’m equally as passionate about, I can’t wait to be fully immersed. I am also creating a YouTube channel called “Thanks4That” which I will link at the bottom. You can subscribe and stay tuned for some great content. It’s called Thanks4That because a lot of people use me as the “advice guy” and always say “thanks for that” after I help them out. So, I decided to put some of that help and information on YouTube for everyone to take advantage of. It will be great info on different things that will make you or life better in different ways. There will definitely be some great content that you will enjoy and benefit from even if there is the occasional video you aren’t interested in. The videos will all have titles explaining what they are about so you can watch the ones that relate to you. I will be putting out some videos so click the subscribe button, thank you all so much.
Here is the link for my YouTube channel - CLICK HERE don’t forget to hit the subscribe button and stay tuned for some great content!
Take care everyone and stay safe...